The footballer Jermain Defoe has paid tribute to his ‘best friend’ Bradley Lowery with a new tattoo.
The Bournemouth striker formed a special relationship with six-year-old Bradley during his time playing for Sunderland.
The two would walk out onto the pitch together ahead of games, as Bradley battled a rare form of cancer. Bradley died in July last year, but not before he and Jermain struck up a close friendship.
Now, Jermain has decided to get a tribute to Bradley inked on his arm, in the form of a ‘Brads’ tattoo.
The two formed a precious friendship back in September 2016, when Sunderland were facing Everton in a Premier League match at the Stadium of Light.
Bradley led the team out onto the pitch and also received a round of applause in the fifth minute from supporters of both clubs.
At the time, the youngster said, as per the Mirror:
This has been amazing. I got to meet Jermain Defoe, who’s my favourite and everyone said my name. Thank you everyone.
Since then, the pair’s friendship continued to grow, with Jermain often visiting Bradley in hospital and posting photos of their time together.
Now, the footballer has chosen to get a tribute to the youngster on his arm. Taking to social media, he posted a video of the moment he got the tattoo as ‘a permanent reminder of a special friendship’.
Check it out below:
In the video, Jermain says:
Obviously this is an important piece that I’ve been thinking of getting for a while, of Brads, for obvious reasons. It means a lot to me.
No matter what I happens, I can look at this and it can pick me up a little bit.
Earlier this year, the AFC Bournemouth star received an OBE, and he said he felt ‘blessed’ to receive such a prestigious award. However, he told fans he had ‘mixed emotions’ about it, saying ‘it isn’t for me or about me’.
In his tweet, Defoe wrote:
The proudest moment of my life to be awarded an OBE. I‘m blessed to have received the honour, but it isn’t for me or about me.
It’s for Bradley and those he loved. I’d trade it all for him to be back in our lives, forget the goals and awards, it’s the memories I’ll cherish…
The proudest moment of my life to be awarded an OBE. I‘m blessed to have received the honour, but it isn’t for me or about me. It’s for Bradley and those he loved. I’d trade it all for him to be back in our lives, forget the goals and awards, it’s the memories I’ll cherish…💙 pic.twitter.com/Dcxua0t7bC
— Jermain Defoe (@IAmJermainDefoe) June 8, 2018
Jermain received the award just under a year after Bradley’s death.
The footballer told Sky Sports:
It’s obviously mixed emotions because obviously standing here [is] one of the proudest moments of my life, but at the same time remembering all the hurt.
I’ve got great memories of Bradley in my head but it wasn’t easy seeing someone that you love suffer like that, especially a young kid, where he didn’t really understand what was going on and you have to remain positive.
The tattoo will at least go someway to ensure Bradley’s memory lives on.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm).
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.